No quotes as an introduction? A post title that isn't a reference? Yes, this is one of those rare service announcements on the blog. Prior announcements included messages about me writing prefaces or having translated short stories, so this time...?
One of the most referenced novels on this blog has always been AYATSUJI Yukito's The Decagon House Murders ("Jukkakukan no Satsujin", 1987), a novel inspired by And Then There Were None, about a group of students with nicknames like "Ellery", "Carr" and "Agatha", who are targeted by a murderer during a stay on a small, deserted island with a strange ten-sided house. The Decagon House Murders showed that it was still possible to write good puzzle plot mysteries decades after the so-called "Golden Age" ended. In fact, the release of the book was like a traffic light turning to green, as many writers followed in Ayatsuji's footsteps, hailing in a renaissance of puzzle plot mystery novels in Japan (the shin honkaku, or "new orthodox" movement).
Publisher Locked Room International will be publishing the first English-language version of The Decagon House Murders this July and I had the pleasure of being the translator of the book. It's a book I always wished more people would read, but of course I had never dreamt I'd have the chance to translate it. But sometimes, the stars align at just the right time. It's one of the most influential mystery novels of the last thirty years in Japan and SHIMADA Soji wrote a special introduction for the English release, so this is a release no fan of detective fiction shouldn't miss. Which is something I say not as the translator of the book (okay, partly, I do), but as someone who has been a fan of the book since many years ago and who went all the way to Kyoto and joined the Kyoto University Mystery Club mostly because of how much I enjoyed The Decagon House Murders.
Publishers Weekly gave The Decagon House Murders an early positive starred review and selected it as one of their Best Summer Books 2015 line-up, which is certainly not a bad start! My own review of the book can be read here. It dates from a few years back and long-time readers might have noticed that it was around that time that I started to blog more consistently/often about Japanese detective fiction and that's no coincidence.
Anyway, The Decagon House Murders will be out in a bit in less than two months, so True Believers, keep an eye out for it.